Mass Transit NOW!

We have come to a deciding moment for our region. Your voice is very important and is needed NOW! The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on the RTA Thursday morning (April 30th). Their vote will play a role in determining the future of the RTA – and the future of our region.

Now is the time to take action: Call or send an urgent reminder and let decision makers know the RTA is vitally important to you and to our region, cities, families, and businesses. Ask associates, friends, neighbors to voice their opinion by forwarding this message to all of your contacts.

Here’s how:
Take a moment now to contact key legislators and urge them to support the Governor’s RTA proposal

Contact key Joint Finance Committee members from SE Wisconsin:

Senator John Lehman (Racine) especially needs to hear from you!
(608) 266-1832 (866) 615-7510, Fax (608) 267-6793,
PO Box 7882, Madison, 53707

Representative Cory Mason (Racine)
(608) 266-0634,
PO Box 8953, Madison, 53708

Representative Pedro Colon (Milwaukee)
888 534-0008, 608 282-3608 fax,
PO Box 8952, Madison, 53708

Representative Tamara Grigsby (Milwaukee)
888 534-0018, 608 282-3618 fax,
PO Box 8952, Madison, 53708

Senator Lena Taylor (Milwaukee)
608 266-5810, 608 267-2353 fax,
PO Box 7882, Madison, 53707

Senator Alberta Darling (Milwaukee)
608 266-5830, 608 267-0588 fax,
PO Box 7882, Madison, 53707

Talking Points: Why an RTA is Vital NOW

We need dedicated funding to stabilize our transit system and build the KRM. The time to do this is now and in the state budget.
We need dedicated funding for transit, and a sales tax is the only viable option.
· A sales tax is the most stable, reliable funding source available for transit and the KRM; it is likely the only local funding option that will help us secure an FTA grant to build the KRM.
· Our current transit system is inadequate and obsolete; I cannot efficiently get workers to my locations, and transit is critical to the success of my business moving forward.
· Without a dedicated funding source, transit service will cease to exist in southeastern Wisconsin. While the need for dedicated funding is extremely urgent in regard to Milwaukee County, Racine and Kenosha are heading down the same path and when considered proportionately, are facing the same financial crisis as Milwaukee County.
· The local business community is solidly behind the RTA and its recommendations to shift funding for transit to a dedicated sales tax. We support the language in the Governor’s budget, but would like to see mandatory property tax relief.
· Some say that a sales tax for transit is anti-business, but in reality a lack of available transit has a greater impact on local companies than a shift in how we pay for it.
· The scenario of running a business with thousands of employees, and having no public transit system to get them to work is far more devastating to local businesses and the local economy than shifting transit from the property tax to a sales tax.

We need to connect workers to jobs
· Our region needs jobs, and the ability to connect southeastern Wisconsin residents with over one million existing jobs. The KRM commuter rail will spark transit-oriented development creating up to 70,000 jobs for workers in southeastern Wisconsin.
· It would quickly create 5,000 construction jobs.

Even though you don’t use it, transit affects everyone in the region
· Even though you may not use it, transit affects everyone and has major implications for our economy. Although you may not personally rely on public transportation to get to and from your job, it is important that you consider that many of your constituents rely on mass transit to get to jobs and school. Many companies rely on transit to bring employees to and from work each day.
· When looking to relocate or expand, the strength of a region’s transit system is one of the top five factors a business will consider. A weak transit system hurts our entire region, making it less attractive to new business development and expansion.

We need to be competitive as a region
· Of the top 50 most populated U.S. cities, only 7 do not have or are not developing rail transit. Wisconsin is falling behind in this regard.
· We need to tap into the talent pool of workers in northern Illinois, and make sure we are retaining the talented workers in the region by offering jobs and amenities competitive with those in other developing regions.
· Public transit encourages urban development, provides access to arts, culture and entertainment, along with other amenities and education opportunities. Such quality of life issues and transit options are rapidly becoming key determining factors in where young professionals choose to live and where businesses choose to locate. Regionally, we need to be able to compete. Right now, we’re not even at the table.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave on April 29, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Thanks for getting this out there, we really do have a chance right now to see transit move forward.

  2. Posted by "2.0 Weblogs" on April 29, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Absolutely, the time is NOW!

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